There's no denying that ready-mix concrete can make any construction quicker and more efficient. While site-mixed concrete may be necessary on projects located too far from the nearest concrete plant, ready-mix is nearly always the better alternative when available. However, these advantages don't mean that you can't take steps to make ready-mix an even more efficient option.
In most cases, knowing how to work with your supplier is the best way to ensure your cement delivery is as efficient and cost-effective as possible. These three tips will help ensure a smooth relationship with your concrete supplier so that you can get on with completing your project on time and under budget.
1. Have Detailed Requirements Ready
One of the primary advantages of using ready-mix concrete is receiving a consistent formulation designed to meet your project's specific needs. Since your concrete will come from a single plant and, in most cases, a single batch, you can rest easy that all the concrete used on your site will meet the same specifications.
However, you must provide detailed information on those specifications, including load-bearing strength or density requirements. Providing this information to your supplier allows them to recommend a mix appropriate for your project, ensuring you receive concrete that's an appropriate match for your needs.
2. Plan Your Deliveries
One of the disadvantages of ready-mix concrete is that the clock starts ticking as soon as the trucks hit the road. According to ASTM standards, delivery must occur within 90 minutes of adding water to the trucks. While there may be some options for recovering concrete that's slightly over this limit based on slump testing and field lab tests, you will generally need to act quickly once your concrete arrives.
As a result, it's crucial to carefully time and plan your deliveries. If you intend to have all of your concrete delivered together, ensure that you have adequate labor and equipment available to complete installation within a reasonable timeframe. If not, planning multiple deliveries may be a more efficient way to give your crews the necessary time.
3. Understand Slump Testing
Concrete slump refers to the ability of the concrete to flow like a liquid. You'll typically see a slump as a numerical value, with zero slumps referring to dry concrete and progressively higher numbers indicating greater flow. The ideal and acceptable slump range will vary based on the specific mix of concrete that you're using for your project.
Many suppliers will perform a slump test upon delivery to confirm that the concrete is still usable. You may also need to perform your own field lab tests to confirm that the delivered concrete meets your needs. These two steps ensure your concrete is ready for use and make it easier to communicate future requirements to your supplier.